Does your child need special education services

If you have a child that you suspect may have a disability, you have the right to have them assessed by your school district free of charge. Please don’t be afraid to have your child identified for a suspected disability. Disabilities such as autism and ADHD can be difficult for anyone but a licensed professional to diagnose.

If your child’s disability is affecting their education, they may be eligible to receive services under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The IDEA requires public schools to locate and identify children with disabilities who may need specialized education. These children must “have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs ” 20 U.S.C. sec.140(d). Children with disabilities must “to the maximum extent appropriate [be] educated with children who are not disabled ” 20 U.S.C.1412(a)(5).
However, a child may not benefit from a regular classroom if they have a disability that cannot have their individualized instruction delivered to them in that setting. There are very specific requirements about eligibility of services, Individualized Educational Program (IEP) components and procedural requirements related to complaints and disputes that must be strictly followed.

Many parents find themselves in a situation where their child is either struggling academically or having discipline problems in school. Often times, there may be an unidentified disability causing these problems. If they do have a disability that is negatively affecting their education, they would likely benefit from specialized education services. Such services may include:

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Other Related Services
  • Modification of the regular education programs
  • Special Day Classes (SDC)
  • Non-Public Schools (NPS)
  • Residential Treatment, and many more

Depending on your child’s individual needs, modifications can be made such as preferential seating in the classroom, use of a computer, allowing extra time for tests, homework modification, books on tape, and more.

Special education law is complex; you may have many more questions that have not been addressed here. Feel free to contact us to discuss your child’s particular situation.